I love to plan family travel adventures with our four kids. Encouraging time in nature, National Parks travel, backpacking and hiking are my passions and I love to write about them.
Last summer my 14 year old daughter and I, along with our friends (another lady and her 14 year old daughter) did a 2 night hike in the Canadian Rockies near Kananaskis. The hike in was rather uneventful in regards to wildlife and we got set up in camp quite late. We were all pretty tired so we went to bed soon after we got set up. Through the night I was woke twice by a bear doddling and sniffing past our camp. It took its time passing but never came right in. It stayed about 10 feet out on a trail. The next day we got up and discovered it had made a midnight snack of bugs from an old stump it had ripped up from the ground. It was very exciting but I can say I slept very lightly the rest of the trip. That situation always makes me nervous because a tent is not a place you want to spray bear spray if they decide to come check it out.
My sisters, some friends and I just did 75 miles of wilderness backpacking in Washington. As soon as we got to our first camp we saw a yearling cub waltz through as if he was just saying hi. It was such a relief that we had done our bear safety reading before our trip! We did everything we were supposed to but that bear must have had many free handouts from previous campers because it sniffed around our camp and hung out for hours while we were shaking in our tents–bear spray and gun in hand! None of our group of 6 got much sleep that night. There was a couple there with their food in paper bags. I think our warnings to them thwarted a bear attack due to improper food storage. Luckily they were the kind with handles and it wasn’t raining so the were able to use the bear pole. Later we saw a mother and 2 cubs on the trail. We just backed up slowly and kept talking. They went about their business. Later that same day we heard a bear huffing as we walked near by. We couldn’t see it and just kept being loud and kept our pace. 3 pretty significant encounters and none of the bears gave us any trouble. It was such an amazing experience all around!
Sounds like you had the very best kind of bear scenarios! While I LOVE seeing bears in the wild, it definitely gets my heart beating fast when I do!
Back in the early nineties when I was a helitack firefighter in California I would spend some of my days off hiking and exploring some of the areas around a fire lookout my brother worked at in the Mendocino NF. Black bears are prevalent on the Mendocino so seeing one or two wasn’t a supersize until while on a hike I stopped to rest under a Jeffery pine when a black bear with a blonde nose came rambling down the same trail I was just on. Sniffing the air and bobbing its head up and down and side to side tasting my sent in the air. I sat in silent watching as the bear past by. After about 15 minutes I decided to leave only to notice the same bear had circled around and behind me. As I stood up making myself look big the bear huffed and turned and bolted in the opposite direction leaving a short trail of bear scat in its wake. I’ll never forget that experience.
Connor- That is a wild story! And I am pretty sure I would have left my own trail of scat in that situation. Haha!
Great tips! More people definitely need to be aware. I RV full-time and I have seen so many people make ridiculous mistakes, then it costs the bears their lives all because someone left their Doritos outside 🙁
Michelle, you are so right! It is horrible to realize that animals must die because of our own stupidity. BTW, I am loving reading about your life in an RV! Happy travels!
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